On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Mar 5 14:00:16 EST 2003

On Wed, 5 Mar 2003 13:39:26 -0500 (EST), johanna wrote:

>> "Black Maria", as the title of a book by DWJ, I pronounce -REE-, because
>> that is how I pronounce the woman's name anyway.
>Someone--I think Melissa, although I was too quick w/the delete key--said
>that people in her area would likely say "ma-ree-a" because there were
>lots of Latinos in the area. I was surprised to hear that, as I've always
>thought of, & have seen/heard, ma-ree-a as the normal way to pronounce it,
>divorced from any particular ethnicity. I'd expect "Mariah" if I heard it
>ma-rye-a. Anyone else from the US want to chime in on this? I'm curious

That was me.  Actually, I said that in the US it was the default
pronunciation, and in my area because there's a large concentration of
native-Spanish-speakers any other pronunciation would be unheard of.
However, I mention this because as an adult, I had heard the name Maria
pronounced as "Mariah" in certain audio readings of British books (older
ones).  It led me to wonder if perhaps the pronunciation of that name in
England (and probably the etymology) came from a different source than
Spanish.  Or, I don't know, it's just you crazy Brits being different again.

Melissa Proffitt

English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, hits them over the head and goes through their pockets for loose vocabulary.

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